by Valerie McDonald Roberts

As Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has said, “We changed the guard in 2008. We must now guard the change in 2010!” Barack Obama was elected to enact the CHANGE, sorely needed after eight years of failed Bush policies that favored the rich and powerful, to the detriment of the working class community. President Barack Obama inherited quite a mess, and in less than two short years he, along with Democratic allies in Congress, has done a yeomen’s job in righting many wrongs. He, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are true champions, and deserve our thanks by supporting candidates they support.

Yet, extreme right-wing Republicans and the Tea Party crowd are rabidly going after the president and his needed allies in Congress, to tear down the progress that was made over the past two years. Who are these extremists behind Republican candidates?

They want to destroy our president, go back to the good ol’ days of Bush (maybe even before the days of civil rights and consumer protection). They use fear-mongering and hate-filled language that we’ve spent generations fighting. When they question where our president was born, or what his religion is, we know what they’re really saying. When they call the president racist, and then tell a group of White voters “Don’t let THEM put you in the back of the bus,” we know what they’re really saying. And when they hold a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, in which they pledge to “Take America Back,” we know exactly who they want to take it back from.

This is the same group that gave us the Iraq war and ran our economy into the ditch. Why would we let them take ANYTHING back?

We need a Democratic U.S. senator, so vote for Joe Sestak, and we need a Democratic governor, so vote for Dan Onorato. This year’s vote is critical! President Obama will be a one-term “potus” (president of the United States) if we elect a U.S. senator who is considered the father of the Tea Party movement and a Republican governor who is already fighting President Obama by enjoining in a lawsuit challenging health care reform, which by the way will actually save lives in the African-American community. Republicans and Tea Party folks are counting on Blacks to “not get it,” to be confused, and not show up to vote on Election Day. Prove them wrong.

I am tired of the open, shameless bigotry, hatred and lies. We must show our strength, and that’s done through our numbers at the polls. Votes for Demo­crats in 2010 are votes for continued Change in 2012. Guard the change by voting Nov. 2. We must do it again.

(Valerie McDonald Roberts is an Allegheny County Democratic Committee member and former city and county elected official.)

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